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Listening to the River: Seasons in the American West

William Stafford and Robert Adams

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ISBN 10: 0893815659 / ISBN 13: 9780893815653
Published by Aperture Inc., U.S.A., 1994
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From The Book Shelf (Salem, OR, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Poems by William Stafford, photographs by Robert Adams. Stated first edition with full numberline, price on dj flap $45.00. Excellent copy, binding square with sharp corners, oatmeal linen cloth clean, no writing in book, letter P rubber stamped on top edge of text block. Dust jacket has no chips or tears and is protected in a new mylar sleeve. Bookseller Inventory # 009995

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Listening to the River: Seasons in the ...

Publisher: Aperture Inc., U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1994

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Edition: First Edition.

About this title


Listening to the River is a celebration of anonymous places where we can still find nature's beauty. Robert Adams first visited these particular locations as a boy, when the West seemed unchanging. Now in his fifties, he returns to them with the affection of a longtime acquaintance. The book records hushed walks when irrelevancies are forgotten, when sunlight makes the fields, hills, and roads new.

Adams has chosen twelve poems by William Stafford to accompany the pictures. Both photographer and poet observe a practice of quiet in the out-of-doors, and both discover there a promise.

This is an optimistic book, though not a sentimental one: a number of the photographs record views of the suburban West. "Any tree in the path of development appears to have an uncertain future," Adams observes. Listening to the River affirms, however, that trees and other elements of nature are ultimately protected. "Part of what their beauty means," says the photographer, "is that they are safe."

In 1989 Adams spoke at the Philadelphia Museum of Art about his enjoyment of the landscape, citing as an example his experiences at rural crossroads on the plains: "Sometimes there doesn't seem to be anything there at all-- just two roads, four fields, and sky. Small things, however, can become important-- a lark or a mailbox or sunflowers. And if I wait I may see the architecture-- the roads and the fields and the sky. Were you and I to drive the prairie together, and the day turned out to be a good one, we might not say much. We might get out of the truck at a crossroads, stretch, walk a little ways, and then walk back. Maybe the lark would sing. Maybe we would stand for a while, all views to the horizon, all roads interesting. We might find there a balance of form and openness, even of community and freedom. It would be the world as we had hoped, and we would recognize it together."

About the Author:

Robert Adams has lived most of his life in Colorado. His photographs of the developed West have been widely published and exhibited.

William Stafford (1914-1993) was raised in Kansas but spent much of his life in Oregon, where he worked as a college teacher. His many books of poetry-- among them Stories That Could Be True, A Glass Face in the Rain, and Smoke's Way-- earned him the admiration and affection of a wide, general audience, and of his colleagues. Many readers agree with the poet Louis Simpson that if the United States is "to have a sense of itself, it will be through work like Stafford's."

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